Every year magazines and web sites release their lists of countries that are up and coming; places that they think are poised to become the next hot travel sensation. For the past few years Croatia has earned a top spot on most of these lists and with good reason. Not well understood, Croatia has a little something to offer any tourist, from urban escapes to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. More than anything though, here are a few reasons why I think Croatia should be firmly entrenched on your travel bucket list.
You may have heard of Dubrovnik, Croatia's most famous city and the top tourist destination in the country. As one of the few remaining walled cities in the world, walking through this beautiful city is like walking through a fairy tale; that's why Game of Thrones uses it for the real Kings Landing scenes. There are many other great urban retreats around the country though. Zagreb, Croatia's capital, is deceptively amazing and could easily fill an entire week with fun and interesting things to see and do. Along the coast though you will find some of Croatias real urban treasures. Towns like Zadar, Split, Sibenik and Trogir are just a few of the great cities that are fun to see and explore on any trip to Croatia.
If you've seen any travel calendar within the last decade or so, chances are you've seen pictures of Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park. This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts dozens of cascading waterfalls all set into some of the most lush and verdant forests you've ever seen. There's a lot more to Croatia's natural scene though than just Plitvice. Located near Zadar, Paklenica National Park is another popular park, but for reasons very different than Plitvice. Here people from around the world visit for the rock climbing, some of the best in Europe. Even if you don't climb, there are miles and miles of beautiful hiking trails that will even take you up into the mountains. Finally, Croatia's islands are another reason why many people visit. Hundreds lie just offshore in the Adriatic and offer everything from quiet escapes to more active pursuits. An easy one to visit is Brac, a quick ferry ride from Split. On Brac you'll find several, quiet island towns that are a lot of fun to explore as well as one of the top rated beaches in Europe, the oddly shaped Zlatni Rat the Golden Cape.
Like so many people, I had some incredibly misinformed notions about Croatia, and chief among them was that I would find bland, boiled food. Not so! Croatia has a long and proud culinary tradition drawing upon its own natural resources, as well as influences from Italy and across the Mediterranean. The cuisine varies widely, from heavier meat-based dishes in the countryside to delicious Italian meals along the coasts. No matter what you decide to try though, I think you'll be just as surprised as I was by how impressive Croatia's culinary offerings are.
What would you like to see and do on a trip to Croatia?
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A luxury adventure traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his experiences with thousands of readers every day through his travel blog, LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Matt is a Washington, DC based travel writer/photographer and has been featured on many other web sites and publications including BBC Travel, CNN GO, Huffington Post, AFAR Magazine and National Geographic Intelligent Travel. His work is also syndicated on the Flipboard and Pulse apps. Follow Matt on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.
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